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Child Care: Before and After School Family Care


What is before and after school family care?

Before and after school care is generally for children 6 to 12 years of age. Care is also provided holidays, school breaks, and vacations. Family child care is done by providers who are licensed to care for children in their home. The caregiver is often a mother with her own children. Family child care providers are licensed by the state. The states also have rules about the number of adults needed to take care of a certain number of children. Generally, a child care home should not have more than 6 children per adult caregiver, including the caregiver's own children.

Health and Safety

To prepare your home, here are things you should check before you hire a caregiver:

  • Is each child required to have an up-to-date immunization record?
  • Does the facility meet state standards for how many children can be taken care of by one adult?
  • Are staff and children taught to wash hands with soap and water after using the restroom or contact with body fluids?
  • Are important phone numbers posted near the phone? (Examples include police, fire, poison control center, hospital, children's physician, ambulance.)
  • Does my caregiver always know how to get in touch with both parents?
  • Do all glass doors have decals?
  • Are the rooms well ventilated and comfortable year-round?
  • Are the bathroom facilities clean and accessible to children?
  • Are stairways and walkways free from clutter?
  • Are dangerous items out of reach or locked in a cupboard, drawer, or cabinet?
  • Are floors free from spills, slippery surfaces, or small throw rugs?
  • Are toys safe, clean, and in good repair?
  • Is your child safe around pets? Are pet dishes out of reach?
  • Are play surfaces, indoors and out, softened with carpeting or wood chips?
  • Is the outdoor area fenced and free of hazards?
  • Is play equipment safe and appropriate for your child's level of development?

Ask the Child Care Provider:

  • Can you tell me more about your background and experience?
  • What are the ages of children you have cared for and some reasons you enjoy taking care of children? Do you have children of your own?
  • How will my child be transported to and from school or when you leave the house?
  • What are your expectations regarding length of commitment?
  • Do you smoke? Do you have any health problems?
  • Have you had training in first aid and CPR?
  • What are your views on discipline? Meals? Television? Computers? Video Games? Playmates?
  • What would you do if . . . ? (Give examples relevant to your situation: medical and personal emergencies, common problems with child.)
  • Can you give me several references, preferably from other parents?
  • May I have a tour of your home?
  • Do you have a current licensing permit?
  • How much does it cost? When are the payments due?
  • What are the hours? Holiday and vacation schedule?
  • Are there extra charges for such things as meals or transportation?
  • Are fees reduced if more than one child enrolls?
  • Is financial assistance available?
  • What is the procedure for medical emergencies?
  • What are the policies regarding illness? (for example, are parents contacted if another child has a contagious disease? Does caregiver have someone to substitute in case she gets sick?)
  • What questions do you have for me?

Caregiver

Does the caregiver:

  • welcome my questions and suggestions?
  • share my childrearing philosophy?
  • take time to share my child's experiences with me?
  • sensitively handle feelings of fear, shyness, upset, and anger?
  • respect each child's unique background and interests?
  • guide rather than direct behavior?
  • seem cheerful, affectionate, and warm?
  • have training and experience in early child education?
  • establish and consistently maintain limits?
  • balance active, physical activities with quiet, restful ones?
  • prohibit play that could quickly get out of hand?
  • allow children to pursue some activities without being disturbed by others?
  • balance structured and unstructured activities?

Written by Donna Warner Manczak, PhD, MPH.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-01-28
Last reviewed: 2009-05-26

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.

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